The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites are places of importance to cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, established in 1972. Cultural heritage consists of monuments (such as architectural works, monumental sculptures, or inscriptions), groups of buildings, and sites (including archaeological sites). Natural features (consisting of physical and biological formations), geological and physiographical formations (including habitats of threatened species of animals and plants), and natural sites which are important from the point of view of science, conservation or natural beauty, are defined as natural heritage. The Kingdom of Belgium accepted the convention on 24 July 1996, making its historical sites eligible for inclusion on the list.
As of 2021[update], there are 15 sites in Belgium inscribed on the list. The first sites in Belgium to be added to the list were the Flemish Béguinages, the Grand Place in Brussels and the lifts on the Canal du Centre, at the 22nd UNESCO session in 1998. The most recent inscriptions were the Colonies of Benevolence, a transnational site shared with the Netherlands, and the Great Spa Towns of Europe, shared with six other countries. The Sonian Forest, part of the 18-country site of the Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe, is the only natural site in Belgium; the others are cultural sites, as determined by UNESCO's selection criteria. Belgium's five transnational sites also include the Belfries of Belgium and France, shared with France, and the Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, shared with six other countries. In addition, Belgium has 16 sites on its tentative list.
UNESCO lists sites under ten criteria; each entry must meet at least one of the criteria. Criteria i through vi are cultural, whereas vii through x are natural.
|Site||Image||Location||Year listed||UNESCO data||Description|
|Belfries of Belgium and France*||several sites||1999||943; ii, iv (cultural)||A total of 56 belfries are listed as World Heritage. They were built between the 11th and 17th centuries in different architectural styles: Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque. They symbolized the wealth and the influence of the towns. In 1999, 32 belfries in Belgium were originally listed, and in 2005, the site was expanded to include the belfries in France and the belfry in Gembloux in Belgium. Some of the belfries include: Cathedral of Our Lady & Antwerp City Hall in Antwerp, St. Rumbold's Cathedral & City Hall in Mechelen, Belfry of Bruges, Belfry of Kortrijk, Cloth Hall in Ypres (pictured), Schepenhuis in Aalst, Belfry of Ghent, Oudenaarde Town Hall, St. Peter's Church in Leuven, St. Leonard's Church in Zoutleeuw, Belfry of Mons, Belfry of Thuin, Belfry of Tournai, and Belfry of Namur. |
|Flemish Béguinages||Flanders||1998||855; ii, iii, iv (cultural)||Béguinages (French) or begijnhoven (Dutch) are collections of small buildings used by Beguines. These were various lay sisterhoods of the Roman Catholic Church, founded in the 13th century in the Low Countries, comprising religious women who sought to serve God without retiring from the world. The list includes 13 béguinages: Bruges, Dendermonde, Diest, Ghent (Klein Begijnhof, Groot Begijnhof), Hoogstraten, Kortrijk, Leuven (Groot Begijnhof), Lier, Mechelen (Groot Begijnhof), Sint-Truiden, Tongeren and Turnhout.|
|Historic Centre of Bruges||Bruges, West Flanders||2000||996; ii, iv, vi (cultural)||Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the north-west of Belgium. Along with a few other canal-based northern cities, such as Amsterdam, it is sometimes referred to as "The Venice of the North". Bruges is economically important thanks to its port. At one time, it was considered by some to be the "chief commercial city" of the world.|
|La Grand-Place, Brussels||City of Brussels, Brussels-Capital||1998||857; ii, iv (cultural)||The Grand Place is the central square of Brussels. It is surrounded by guildhalls, the city's Town Hall, and the Breadhouse. The square is the most important tourist destination and most memorable landmark in Brussels. It measures 68 by 110 metres (223 by 361 ft).|
|Major Mining Sites of Wallonia||Wallonia||2012||1344; 2012; ii, iv (cultural)||During the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, mining and the heavy industry that relied on coal formed a major part of Belgium's economy. Most of this mining and industry took place in the sillon industriel ("industrial valley" in French), a strip of land running across the country where many of the largest cities in Wallonia are located. The named locations of this World Heritage Site are all situated in or near the area of the sillon industriel. Mining activities in the area declined during the 20th century, and today the four mines listed are no longer operational. Nowadays they are each open to visitors as museums.|
|Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta||Brussels and Saint-Gilles, Brussels-Capital||2000||1005; i, ii, iv (cultural)||The architect Victor Horta was well known for creating buildings in the Art Nouveau style fashionable at the time. Four of his most notable surviving works, Hôtel Tassel, Hôtel Solvay, Hôtel van Eetvelde and Maison & Atelier Horta, are listed as World Heritage Sites.|
|Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes||Mons, Hainaut||2000||1006; i, iii, iv (cultural)||The Neolithic flint mines at Spiennes are Europe's largest and earliest neolithic mines, located close to the Walloon village of Spiennes, southeast of Mons. The mines were active during the mid and late Neolithic (4300–2200 BC).|
|Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai||Tournai, Hainaut||2000||1009; ii, iv (cultural)||Notre-Dame Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church, see of the Diocese of Tournai in Tournai. Begun in the 12th century on even older foundations, the building combines the work of three design periods with striking effect: the heavy and severe character of the Romanesque nave contrasting remarkably with the Transitional work of the transept and the fully developed Gothic of the choir. The transept is the most distinctive part of the building, with its cluster of five bell towers and apsidal (semicircular) ends.|
|Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex||Antwerp, Antwerp||2005||1185; ii, iii, iv, vi (cultural)||The Plantin-Moretus Museum is a museum in Antwerp about early-modern printing in general and the famous printers Christophe Plantin and Jan Moretus in particular. It is located in their former residence and printing establishment, Plantin Press, at the Vrijdagmarkt (Friday Market).|
|Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe*||Brussels-Capital, Flanders and Wallonia||2007||1133; ix (natural)||The Sonian Forest is the only Belgian component to the multinational inscription 'Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe'. The list includes 63 beech forests in Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Ukraine.|
|Stoclet House||Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Brussels-Capital||2009||1298; i, ii (cultural)||The Stoclet Palace was a private mansion built by architect Josef Hoffmann between 1905 and 1911 in Brussels, for banker and art lover Adolphe Stoclet. It was one of the most refined and luxurious private houses of the 20th century and was lavishly decorated inside, including works by the artist Gustav Klimt.|
|The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement*||Antwerp, Antwerp||2016||1321; i, ii, vi (cultural)||The Maison Guiette is the Belgian component of the multinational inscription 'The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement'. The building was listed among 16 other buildings of Le Corbusier in Argentina, France, Germany, India, Japan and Switzerland.|
Maison Guiette was designed by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier in 1926 and it was finished in 1927. It served as the home and workplace of Belgian painter René Guiette. It is the only remaining building designed by Le Corbusier in Belgium. It is also known as Les Peupliers, named after the street where the building is situated.
|The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre and their Environs, La Louvière and Le Roeulx||Hainaut||1998||856; iii, iv (cultural)||The lifts on the old Canal du Centre are a series of four hydraulic boat lifts near the town of La Louvière in the Sillon industriel of Wallonia. Along a particular 7 km (4.3 mi) stretch of the Canal du Centre, which connects the river basins of the Meuse and the Scheldt, the water level rises by 66.2 metres (217 ft). To overcome this difference, the 15.4-metre lift at Houdeng-Goegnies was opened in 1888, and the other three lifts, each with a 16.93 metres (55.5 ft) rise, opened in 1917.|
|The Great Spa Towns of Europe*||Spa, Liège||2021||1613; ii, iii (cultural)||The Great Spa Towns of Europe comprises 11 spa towns in seven European countries where mineral waters were used for healing and therapeutic purposes before the development of industrial medication in the 19th century. The town of Spa is listed in Belgium.|
|Colonies of Benevolence*||Wortel, Antwerp||2021||1555; ii, iv (cultural)||In the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, large sections of the population of the Low Countries were left impoverished. To address the social issues, the Society of Benevolence was founded in 1818 and, under the supervision of Johannes van den Bosch, constructed seven agricultural colonies for families, orphans, beggars, and retired military personnel. This approach was innovative with the combination of education, healthcare and (forced) labour to ensure the self-sufficiency of the colonies. Four colonies were listed, three in the Netherlands and Wortel in Belgium.|
In addition to the sites inscribed on the World Heritage list, member states can maintain a list of tentative sites that they may consider for nomination. Nominations for the World Heritage list are only accepted if the site was previously listed on the tentative list. As of 2019, Belgium lists 18 properties on its tentative list.
|Ghent historic town centre||Ghent, East-Flanders||856; 2002; ii, iv (cultural)|
|Antwerp historic town centre||Antwerp, Antwerp||857; 2002; ii, iv, vi (cultural)|
|Historic buildings of the University of Leuven||Leuven, Flemish Brabant||1712; 2002; ii, iii, iv, vi (cultural)|
|Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert||City of Brussels, Brussels-Capital||5355; 2008; ii, iv (cultural)|
|Bloemenwerf by Henry van de Velde||Uccle, Brussels-Capital||5356; 2008; i, ii (cultural)|
|Palace of Justice||City of Brussels, Brussels-Capital||5357; 2008; i (cultural)|
|High Fens landscape||Liège||5358; 2008; v (cultural)|
|Roman road from Bavay to Tongeren||Belgium||5359; 2008; iii, iv (cultural)|
|Prince-Bishops' Palace||Liège, Liège||5361; 2008; ii, iii (cultural)|
|Battlefield of Waterloo||Braine-l'Alleud, Walloon Brabant||5362; 2008; ii, iii, vi (cultural)|
|Battle of Waterloo Cyclorama||Braine-l'Alleud, Walloon Brabant||5364; 2008; i, ii, iv, vi (cultural)|
|The Mosane Citadels||Wallonia||5365; 2008; ii (cultural)||Encompasses the citadelles in Dinant, Namur and Huy.|
|Hoge Kempen landscape||Limburg||5623; 2011; iv, vi, viii (cultural and natural)|
|Cemeteries and memorials of the Great War*||Belgium and France||5886; 2014; iii, iv, vi (cultural)||Collaboration with France. A total of 105 elements were selected for the list in France and Belgium. 25 sites are situated in Belgium.|
|Neanderthal Fossil Sites in Wallonia||Wallonia||6398; 2019; iii, iv (cultural)||Inscription includes the Schmerling Caves in Flémalle, the Sclayn Cave in Andenne, the Goyet Caves in Gesves and the Spy Cave in Jemeppe-sur-Sambre. On the included sites important Neanderthal fossils were found which contributed heavily in the research to the Neanderthal human.|
|Hospital Our Lady with the Rose||Lessines, Hainaut||6399; 2019; iii, iv (cultural)|